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Oocyte Retrieval

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What are oocytes?

What are Oocytes?

Oocytes (also known as ovum or simply as eggs) are female gametes - the female cells which have the potential to conceive another human being if fertilised by a male gamete (i.e. sperm, known scientifically as spermatozoon).

Each woman is born with a finite number of oocytes in her ovaries. She does not produce any more eggs throughout her life. The eggs are released periodically during the woman's reproductive years, through the natural process of ovulation. Each time a woman ovulates (i.e. has a menstrual cycle), a single egg is released from the ovaries, once it has matured to the point that it is ready for fertilisation. It will then enter the fallopian tubes, where, if it comes into contact with sperm, it may be fertilised and form a pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilised, it will continue through the fallopian tubes and leave the body via the vagina.

What is Oocyte Retrieval or Pick Up?

Oocyte pick up is the process of collecting mature eggs, directly from a woman's ovaries, prior to their release from ovarian follicles. It can be performed either to collect a single egg released as part of a woman's natural menstrual cycle, or, most often, in conjunction with hyperovulation to enable the simultaneous retrieval of numerous mature oocytes.

History of Oocyte Pick Up

Oocyte Retrieval Treatment India, Cost Oocyte Retrieval Treatment delhi, Oocyte Retrieval, Oocyte Retrieval Treatment, Oocyte Retrieval Treatment Mumbai Bangalore Delhi India,  Oocyte Retrieval Treatment Hospitals, Oocyte Retrieval Surgery CenterThe successful retrieval of mature oocytes is a prerequisite for in vitro fertilisation (IVF), and so, advances in retrieval techniques have also represented major advances in assisted reproductive techniques (ART) more generally.

Similarly, advances in related ART procedures have also greatly enhanced the efficiency of oocyte retrieval. The key milestones in the development of oocyte retrieval techniques are further discussed below.

Advances in Ovarian Stimulation

The development of methods to artificially induce ovulation and hyperovulation and predict oocyte maturation greatly increased the efficiency of oocyte retrieval. Inducing hyperovulation now enables the simultaneous collection of numerous mature oocytes (8-12) per cycle, each of which has the potential to be fertilised and implanted. It also enables clinicians to predict the time of optimum oocyte maturity and thus enables clinicians to retrieve only oocytes that are properly matured. As matured oocytes are more likely to become fertilised in vitro than immature oocytes, this increases fertilisation rates.

Advances in Laparoscopic Oocyte Pick Up

Laparoscopic oocyte retrieval had a success rate of less than 50% per follicle in the early days of IVF. The introduction of new instruments to assist in laparoscopic oocyte retrieval in the early 1980s increased success to 60-80% per follicle. These instruments included a foot controlled device to control the pressure used to aspirate ovarian follicles and remove oocytes (i.e. suck oocytes out of the follicles), and bevel point, Teflon lined needles used to collect oocytes.

Development of Ultrasound Guided Retrieval Techniques

Advances in the development of ultrasound technology which occurred throughout the 1970s and 1980s improved the practice of oocyte retrieval. Ultrasound was used, and continues to be used today, to view the ovaries and assess follicular development in order to plan the timing of oocyte retrieval to coincide with maturation. Ultrasonically guided oocyte pick up also quickly replaced laparoscopically assisted oocyte pickup.

In Vitro Maturation of Oocytes Before Insemination

In 1981 Australian scientists, upon recognising the importance of egg maturity for fertilisation success, began leaving retrieved oocytes in culture media to further mature for several hours following retrieval. This delay greatly improved fertilisation rates and remains common practice today.

Effectiveness of Oocyte Retrieval

On average, 8-12 mature eggs will be collected per hyperstimulation cycle. It is rare that no mature eggs are collected following hyperstimulation, however both the quality and quantity of oocytes retrieved decrease as the age of the woman being treated increases.

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